Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Detroit Lions Preview and Predictions
By Nick John
Nov 30, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) is Cincinnati Bengals by wide receiver Vincent Jackson (83) after he scored a touchdown during the second quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
I shouldn’t have been surprised at all, but I was.
Last week, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers found yet another way to lose a football game. This time around, after a long pass to Louis Murphy to get the Buccaneers in range to kick a game winning field goal against the Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay was penalized for having 12 men on the field for that play.
At that very moment, I was done.
Not as a fan or a writer of this team; that won’t cease any time soon.
That’s when I was done caring about this season. I’m ready to move on. Year one of the Lovie Smith and Jason Licht era has been a complete and utter failure, but the final quarter of the season has still yet to be played.
Today, the Buccaneers will go into Detroit and take on the Lions, who are still vying for a playoff spot in the NFC. Detroit is going for their sixth home win in seven tries, and with the Buccaneers having the worst record in the NFC, this is very possible.
Tampa Bay is still sticking with Josh McCown as their starting quarterback, and I can’t really come up with any positives of that. McCown has been nothing but an unreliable turnover frenzy all season long and will face a tough Lions front seven this afternoon.
If the Bucs want to win this, or any game in the future, Doug Martin has to put together a full game of what he did in the first half of last week. Martin, for the first time in a long time, looked like his burst was finally back. There was excitement when he touched the ball, much like his rookie year. But in the second half of last week’s game, the team decided not to roll with the hot hand, and Charles Sims carried much of the load as well, with minimal results.
The inside passing threat is almost non-existent with the Bucs’ offense. That was especially the case last week, as the team was down all of their active roster tight ends. Today, Luke Stocker is probable to return and both ASJ and Myers are questionable after not practicing all week.
Evan Dietrich-Smith, who didn’t play last week, is probable after participating in full practice all week long. He will be needed, as Garrett Gilkey playing center is an experiment we would all like to forget.
On defense, Lavonte David was limited in practice, and is questionable for today. I almost hope he doesn’t give it a go. No point in risking the health of one of your best players for a meaningless game. Also, Danny Lansanah is showing that no matter which linebacker position you put him in, he will find a way to make plays. Lansanah lead the team with 14 tackles last week.
For the rest of Lovie Smith’s defense, you just want to see signs of improvement against a high-powered offense. Johnthan Banks leads the team, and is tied for the NFC lead, in interceptions. He’s had an exceptionally good year, along with a guy like Jacquies Smith. Tampa Bay needs to see more young players emerge as playmakers as 2014 bleeds into 2015.
It’s silly to predict a Buccaneer win, but the team finds a way to compete. I don’t think it will be as close as last week, but with the team’s fate finally sealed, expect guys to just go out and give it their all in hopes to stick around next year.
Final Score: Detroit Lions 34, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16